August 8, 2007

On burnt buns and keeping up appearances

Yesterday my husband called me at work to ask me if he should boil ALL the bratwurst in beer before grilling. . .because our nine year old daughter had her best friend over. Her Mormon best friend. After a little thought and discussion we decided to boil hers in water to honor her parents' possible qualms about food cooked in alcohol.

When I walked in the door that evening, I was hit with the most delicious smells in the kitchen. Mmmmmm, brats, beer, corn on the cob, onions sauteed in butter, sauerkraut, freshly sliced cantaloupe. I love it when he cooks, he's much more inspired than I am with cooking, and he's quite talented at it too.

We were all sitting at the table waiting for him to finish up at the stove, when suddenly he yelled, "SON of a BITCH!" at the top of his voice as he turned around with a cookie sheet from the oven.

"Dartman!!" I thought he had burned himself.

"Oh, sorry. But GODDAMNIT, I burnt the buns! Goddamn buns are ruined! FUCK!"

"Dart! Mellow out! Stop swearing! It's not the end of the world!" He continued to mumble goddamnsonofabitch words while I watched my daughter's friend's eyes get huge, and she took her rounded corn on the cob skewers and put them over her ears to block out the swearing. All I could picture was her reporting this incident the second she got home. I kept telling him to mellow out while I tried to point out that burnt buns were no big deal ~ I'd be back in no time since the store is only a couple blocks away. I started putting my shoes on while giving him the eye. The stupid part of the whole thing was, the kids hadn't wanted their buns toasted (why does that sound bad??) so they were able to eat. It was only the adults who needed new buns.

I mouthed the words "Calm. Down." to him on my way out the door. I got back so soon, the brats were still hot. I was seething mad. It's just buns for cripes sakes.

And we worried about boiling her bratwurst in beer.

~ SML, hopeful that my daughter didn't just lose her best friend.


C. L. Hanson said...


This post had my mouth watering from the start. Is there anything more delicious than a husband who cooks? ;^)

As far as the friend is concerned -- and I say this in all sincerity as a kid who grew up in a nice, sheltered Mormon home -- I think it's beneficial to be exposed to friends' parents swearing. Of course even if you've helped the friend, it unfortunately doesn't mean you've helped your own child's popularity. There you've basically got to hope that she's sufficiently resourceful to cover...

Notonlyamom said...

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Sideon said...

**laughing and trying not to spew Snapple out my nose**


In the name of cheese and rice. Top Ramen.

Lianne said...

I know you were mad, but that is just so funny!!! I can totally see my TBM husband going ballistic over something like that... although he would just seethe and not swear, because he is so righteous.

CV Rick said...

Don't worry about it at all . . . it's just swearing and she'll get over it. But that meal . . . I'm starving. Can I borrow Dartman to cater our housewarming party?

sister in zion said...

This story is not funny to me. The dad should have behaved far better--not for the friend's sake, but for his own daughter's (and wife's).

aka madre said...

I laughed myself silly over this one! I was talking to D on the phone, started laughing, and read it to him. You know him...doesn't laugh too easily...and he laughed himself silly! (Whatever that means!) Poor girl! She'll probably never recover from the trauma! Sister in Zion....I truly doubt it will be the last time she hears these un-God-like words! Perhaps, in fact, it will prepare her a little better for when her bishop or high council husband calls her a bitch!

aka madre

sister in zion said...

I reiterate that I said nothing at all about the Mormon friend, for whom I have zero concern.

Robert said...

I guess this story begs the question: if your daughter's best friend weren't Mormon, would you not have been concerned about the swearing?

sister in zion said...

Obviously I don't speak for the author of this blog but I do have strong feelings about this topic. Robert, you didn't ask me but I would say that any swearing here is nearly completely beside the point as is the fact that any Mormon children were present.

I grew up with outbursts and rage-sessions like this from my Mormon father and I was always terrified to have friends over, just in case of situations like this.  Heck I was scared of what the neighbors might hear through the windows in the summer.  (Writing this now I'm wondering why I think it was _my_ part to feel shame?)
This daughter might be "used to it" and therefore its easy to be more woried about what her friend might think, as a sheltered Mormon and as one not as supposably immune to it.  Thinking about it though I don't think you ever get used to it.  That kind of uncontrolled rage behavior by someone who hasn't or won't grow out of it (he is an _adult_ for heaven sake) does have an impact on kids especially girls when it's their fathers that don't care enough to be loving and patient and supportive instead of having unpredictable bursts of rage and venting them on his family. 
Whether the Mormon friend was offended by the swearing itself or not, I'm sure the daughter was embarrassed ashamed, afraid and somewhere inside herself also very enraged which can eventually come out in a lot of different ways but for now probably just is unknown to her.  It will catch up with her and she will pay a price for it somehow. That kind of angry energy is does not just magically dissapate. Her father should at least attempt to be aware of his behaviors and the impact he's having on young minds and hearts, the ones he is responsible for loving and nurturing.  And it would also be good if he showed any concern for the author's feelings and daughters will especially notice and learn this in their lives. She wrote that she was seething mad, and she had to run out to the store to smooth things for her husband, so he would stop lashing out. Yet there were no apologies on Dad's part.
The bratworsts sound very delicious and all, but I bet they didn't taste as good after this whole experience.

sister in zion said...

I also think it's pretty bad that akamadre shared a laugh about this with the Dad. The author is your dauther, right? The girl is your grandchild?

Did you call your daughter also to find out how she felt about this situation? Did you find out if she is laughing?

Sideon said...

There's a difference in raging at a person and raging at a situation. If the swearing had been directed at anyone specifically, then I could see apologies would be in order.

Chill. Being offended for someone else just adds more drama.

No humans or animals were hurt in the making of this blog post.

paranoidfr33k said...

Its a fact of life that we have to worry about what is said in certain company. Its certainly not funny for SML because she worries that this incident will affect her child's relationship with the mormon friend.

SML, I hope the friend stays a friend. Did Dartman say anything about his actions after the incident?


JulieOShields said...

SML, This is kind of funny. I would be mad if it happened in my house. I hate it when my husband loses his temper. It brings back memories of childhood. But when My father lost his temper, violence often followed. You post doesn't mention any of this, so I assume it was just the swearing. Hopefully you didn't have a cloud over your house for the rest of the evening. I bet your daughter and her friend went in a different room and laughed about it before she went home.
How are you doing? Still seething?

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I appreciate all your comments on this post.

I actually agree with Sister in Zion (who ARE you??) and realize that truly, I was not as upset over the swear words ~ hell, I swear too ~ as I am over his getting that angry over something as inconsequential as buns. And not being able to laugh it off and deal with it better. That's what's difficult for me. I understand he worked hard on a very good dinner, but you know what? Shit happens. It's not the end of the world, and his dinner was just as good ten minutes later as it would have been ten minutes earlier. Laugh it off! Throw the corn back in the pot and go get some more buns. It's easy.

I can guarantee you if I had burnt the buns then thrown the exact words out in that exact way, Dartman and my kids would have been horrified and would have thought I was way out of line. They would have said so to my face, right then.

I'm not still seething, but I was then. I talked to him after the kids had left the table about how that kind of behavior really needs to change, and he just reiterated why he was pissed that those buns had burned.

JulieOShields said...

I'm Sorry SML :-(

sister i zion said...

Look I just linked from a link from a friends web site about three or four clicks away from here and I am not putting my identity, it doesn't matter anyhow. I didn't know I would find a post that was so unpleasantly familiar to me. I am not sayint its ok to swear but I still think the unbridled anger is the problem. It is not a new problem either I can just tell. I could have predicted that if you said anything to Dad about it, he would just explain to you why it was so obvious that he had every reason to be angry. He can not see why his actions are hurting people or else he _won't_ see that. Yeah it's absolutely not my business but I also will not enable or deny or justify these actions that are so painful for the spouse and children. The pain is not from one dinner occurence even if there was a Mormon child there, the pain builds up over a long time. I can feel the pain of a long time in what Sister Mary Lisa says. I can feel it because it is like my own feelings and thoughts. People are anxious to sey that just getting mad should not be such a big deal but if you have lived with someone who can rage and rage at any unexpected time, then you will know what I mean. Otherwise you will think I'm crazy. I am okay ifyou think I'm crazy but I want Sister to know I don't think she's crazy. (Sorry now I'm typing fast because I have to run.)

mark said...

Ya know what SML, we are all mortal men (and women.) It's just a part of living. I have done the same thing. No one is perfect unless of course you are a Mormon. I dont think the young girls will be scared for life. Pretty soon some Mormon bishop will be asking that little girl about her masturbation activities.
Who doesnt love a good bratwurst? I think the best brats come from Wisconsin. The homemade ones from small meat markets are the best. Even Johnsonville makes a pretty respectable brat. And yes, they must be simmered in beer and then grilled over charcoal. Put one on a wheat bun, add some Bavarian kraut, shaved onions, and some German-style mustard and you then have your hands on an oral delight. (Did I just say "Oral Delight?) OK, Please pass the potato salad. Oh, and a beer too please.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Hi Mark,

I'm not suggesting I expect perfection, as Dartman well knows. I would, however, like the outburst of anger to match the incident. It's perfectly reasonable to say that one can publicly share disappointment in better ways than an angry outburst like that.

And you say we're all mortal men and women, but I can guarantee you I as a woman am not allowed the luxury of having angry outbursts like that whenever I want them. It's simply not ladylike or acceptable.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I may have given the impression we've had tension and fighting since then at home, but we have not.

Hopefully if Dartman reads this it will open up communication further and we can improve the quality of life in our home for ourselves and our children in the process.

Sister Emma said...

I'm in agreement with Sister in Zion: Dartman needs to get a serious grip on himself. Burning buns is not the end of the world and his reaction was, I think, WAY over the top.

Now, if he'd stuck his finger in a socket and been shocked, then launched into a blue streak, that would be funny. And, the burned buns thing might be funny if it was just a random, silly outburst, but it's clear from your post that this is "normal" behavior for him and it's disruptive and upsetting to you and your kids. Good for you for calling him on it.

And equally good for you for clarifying to commenters that you're not looking for Dartman to be PERFECT but you are looking for him to be CIVILIZED. Frankly, when I first read this, I was pissed. I still am, I guess. And I think you were right to be, too. He may not have physically struck any of you, but his words have a similar effect and are just as lasting in their impact as if he'd thrown the burned buns at you or hit one of your kids.

Believe me, years from now, it's not going to be the rare, fun moments with dad your kids will remember. It'll be the moments when he was an asshole that will stick. And no kid wants to think of their dad as a dick. That's just sad, pathetic, and unnecessary. My two cents

Sister Emma said...

P.S. And no one can change that but Dartman. It will be sad, pathetic, and unnecessary if he doesn't.

Robert said...

I think the thoughts that rung true to my point were made well by Sister in Zion and those who agreed with her. And "being offended for someone else" has nothing to do with it, Sideon. SML was offended, and therefore I asked if she would have been any less offended if the visitor were not Mormon. I grew up in a non-Mormon home, and if my Dad had launched into a tirade like that, I would not have appreciated it. My Mom never would have said such things, I can guarantee. The point is, the object of concern seemed to be initially focused on the Mormon girl, but the reality is that it is a deeper issue. Unbridled rage is something I have definitely experienced in my life. There are three real dangers in tolerating it: 1) it escalates (which can just mean it continues, but can also mean it does move to violence), 2) daughters get taught that such behavior is acceptable in men and they end up with that sort of man (and sons that it will be okay to act that way towards their wives), and 3) it teaches everyone in the household that such behavior is acceptable.

Let me give you an example from my own experience: I had a roommate in college who was a belligerent drunk. When he was playing video games, he was also quite ridiculous about how badly he handled people laughing at his mistakes. Throw the two together, and you had a 22-year old child waiting to attack someone. One day, just before spring break, he mouthed off at the wrong frat boy who was making fun of the marching band, and we got a call from him the next day that he had moved out. You see, he had woken up having been beaten senseless and robbed by our fourth roommate and his frat brothers before they left for the week. Somewhere along the line, this boy learned that talking trash and threatening to fight was acceptable, and it nearly got him killed. Had he tried those antics in a bar, it might've, since the same roommate who beat him had previously bragged about leaving a man for dead after bashing him with a broken bottle because he'd said something to him).

Does that sound like an extreme example? Maybe so, but it's not the only such incident of violent talk begetting violent action I ever witnessed. I certainly have seen my share of women in abusive relationships who came from abusive homes. There's a real risk in letting such things continue.

Just one man's opinion.

Cele said...

SML could Dartman come teach Ducky how to cook? I would love it. Btw Ducky already knows how to swear...

drowseymonkey said...

Wow...I just found your blog & when I read this post I loved it, thought it was funny! Then I read all these serious comments & just shake my head...sheesh. I grew up in a family where sometimes outbursts came but it was also a house where we had a sense of humour and could laugh at ourselves. Humour trumps everything, everytime. Regardless of the oh so serious comments...I still think it's funny!

mark said...

25 comments on this issue probably means that most normal humans have experienced this once or twice in their lifetime. Granted this experience doesnt happen everyday but it is a piece of the puzzle of being human.
Thank you for posting this SML. I learned alot from all of the people who commented. I have lots of respect for you SML.

The Sacred Sister said...

I have to say that after dealing with my own hubby (who is very much like Dartman) this kind of behavior gets old.
Can you imagine screaming like this EVERY time something didn't go the way you expected?
It doesn't matter if kids are around or not. Deal with it. Deal with life and move on. When something like this happens just say, "Shit, I burnt the buns. Hey honey, can you run to the market and grab some more buns?"
I got over my temper tantrums by the time I was 7 or 8... when the hell are these guys gonna grow up?
I am so with you on this SML.

Anonymous said...

Sticks and stones...

Swear first, laugh later. I think it says quite a bit that he was that concerned over the meal. I think you were as well. Sure the kid's gonna be freaked out, you'll be pissed, he'll be disappointed (a little with himself) but whatever! At least there was no tickling involved.

Steebie Weebie